Joe Biden defends his trip to Saudi Arabia

(Washington) Joe Biden, who is traveling to Saudi Arabia next week, wants to “strengthen a strategic partnership based on mutual interests and responsibilities while respecting fundamental American values,” he wrote in a column published Saturday Washington Post.

Posted at 8:25 p.m

In this lengthy text, the US President, who is traveling to Israel on Tuesday and Jeddah in Saudi Arabia on Friday, responds to critics who accuse him of self-denial in order to extract Saudi Arabia’s pledge to produce more oil .

Before his election, Joe Biden had promised to make the oil monarchy an international “pariah” because of the murder of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

“I know that many disagree with my decision to go to Saudi Arabia. My views on human rights are clear and strong, and fundamental freedoms are always on the agenda when I travel and they will be during this trip, “the American President assures.

He recalls declassifying an explosive US intelligence report into the circumstances of Jamal Khashoggi’s death.

But he does not mention in his column the name of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who, according to the same report, “confirmed” the assassination. Joe Biden is set to meet him in Jeddah next week as part of an expanded King Salman meeting.

“My job as president is to ensure the country’s solidity and security,” the 79-year-old democrat said, explaining the need to “counter against” Russia, to get “in the best possible position” vis-à-vis China for “greater stability.” in the Middle East.

“To do these things, we need to have a direct relationship with the countries that can contribute. Saudi Arabia is one,” explains Joe Biden again.

“In Saudi Arabia, we have reversed the blank check policy that we inherited from former President Donald Trump,” says Joe Biden.

He specifies: “Right from the start, my goal was to realign – but not to break off – relations with a country that has been our strategic partner for 80 years.”

The American President also addressed an important topic of his trip: oil, at a time when high gas prices are angering Americans and hurting his party’s election chances.

Riyadh, he said, “is working with my experts to help stabilize the oil market.” Washington wants all Gulf countries to open the floodgates to lower prices.

Joe Biden initially scheduled a meeting with interim Prime Minister Yair Lapid and Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas. Then on Friday he flies to Jeddah, the first direct link of its kind between the Jewish state and an Arab country that does not recognize its existence.

Donald Trump had already made this trip with a very strong symbolic dimension, but in the opposite direction.

When he arrived in the White House, the Middle East was “less pressured and more integrated than it was 18 months ago,” assured Joe Biden.

In particular, he mentions the rapprochement between Israel and several Arab countries, initiated under the tutelage of the former Republican president. The Biden administration “is working to deepen and expand this process,” the Democratic president said.

Joe Biden wants to “make progress” in a region that remains “challenged” between Iran’s nuclear program and the unstable situation in Syria, Libya, Iraq, Lebanon…

But he still sees “promising trends” in the region and says “the United States can empower them like no other country. That’s my trip next week.”

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